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'Significant development' Man arrested in Derry in operation linked to New IRA bomb-making

Forensic team is currently examining a property in the area

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The PSNI have arrested a 52-year-old man in the Creggan area of Derry under the Terrorism Act.

Detectives from the Terrorism Investigation Unit, together with district policing officers and the Operational Support Department carried out the search and arrest operation in Derry this morning.

The investigation was undertaken as a part of Operation Ledging, a stand-alone strand of Operation Arbacia - which is the PSNI's “long-term” specialist investigation into the activities of the New IRA.

The man arrested has been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite where he continues to be questioned.

Forensic teams are currently examining a house at the location were the arrest was made.

The police have said that the arrest and the search of the house is a “significant development” as part of Operation Ledging, which specifically is investigating the New IRA’s bomb-making activities as well as the group’s storage of explosive devices and equipment.

Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, Head of Serious Crime Branch, said: “The New IRA continues to pose a very real danger, most especially to the communities in the areas where they construct and store their bombs and guns.

“Previous investigations have shown time and time again that the New IRA has a callous disregard towards who it might hurt or what it destroys. We have witnessed on numerous occasions that they are willing to put the lives of local people at risk in their reckless haste to carry out bombings and shootings.

"Most starkly they have a chilling indifference to hiding lethally dangerous weapons and bombs in places where local people can easily stumble across them, unaware of the potential horrific consequences of touching them.”

He added: “We have witnessed this all too often in recent times when they have left explosives and weapons near to children’s play-dens and in the middle of housing areas – places that should be sacrosanct and safe. The approaching anniversary of the heartless murder of Lyra McKee and the self-serving justification of it by those who were involved in it, underscores the risks that the New IRA pose to those going about their lawful business.

“Our focus is on keeping the community safe and protecting them from the threat of these violent groups but we need the help of the public. Our chances of success are vastly improved by support and information from the community in relation to their activities.

“We have previously stated that Operation Arbacia is a longer term investigation that will look into every aspect of the activities of the New IRA in its entirety.

Today’s search and arrest is evidence that we have various operations complementing Operation Arbacia and today does not mark the end of them but rather a continuance.”

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